The United Left Alliance swept the JNU students polls’, winning the post of president, vice president, general secretary and joint secretary. N Sai Balaji has been elected as President after winning with a margin of over 1,000 votes, and Sarika Chaudhary won the post of Vice President with a higher margin of over 1500 votes. Aejaz Ahmed Rather is the new General Secretary and Amutha Jayadeep is Joint Secretary.
The alliance comprised of the Left-backed All India Students’ Association (AISA), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) and All India Students’ Federation (AISF).
The Left grouping’s presidential candidate, N Sai Balaji of the AISA, defeated Lalit Pandey of the ABVP by a margin of 1,179 votes. Balaji bagged 2,161 votes, PTI reported. For the post of vice president, Sarika Chaudhary of the DSF garnered 2,692 votes and trounced ABVP candidate Geetasri Boruah by a margin of 1,680 votes. Aejaj Ahmed of the SFI polled 2,423 votes and won the post of general secretary, by defeating Ganesh Gurjar of the ABVP by 1,300 votes. Amutha of the AISF defeated ABVP’s Venkat Choubey by 800 votes to win the post of joint secretary. Amutha bagged 2,047 votes.
The counting process, which began on Friday, was marred with allegations of rigging and had to be stopped for over 14 hours on Saturday. The ABVP had alleged that the Election Committee was attempting to rig the polls.
Leaders of the RSS affiliated student organisation stormed the counting centre around 3 am Saturday and allegedly tried to snatch ballot papers, and “intimidated” the EC, accusing them of starting counting without the presence of their polling agent. They remained inside the building until 5.30 pm.
“The counting process, which had began yesterday (September 14) at 10 pm has been suspended due to forcibly entering into the counting venue and attempt to snatch away sealed ballot boxes as well as ballot papers from our counting centres. This was in addition to intimidation and violence on our EC, including on our female members led by a Presidential and a Joint Secretary candidate,” EC chairperson Himanshu Kulshrestha said in the morning. Around 6.10 pm, the EC made an announcement over the loudspeaker that counting would “resume in 20 minutes”.
The elections saw the highest voter turnout in recent years, with nearly 67.8 per cent students coming out to exercise their mandate. In comparison to last year, there has been a jump of nearly 10 per cent in voting.
Besides the Left bloc and the ABVP, there were candidates of the Congress-affiliated NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) and the BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association), a student group advocating Dalit causes.
JNUSU Poll results 2018: Know about the winning candidates
PRESIDENT N Sai Balaji, AISA
From Hyderabad, Balaji (26) is a first-year PhD student at the Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament. His mother runs a small school, and is helped by his father, a civil engineer. Son of a backward caste father and an upper caste mother, he said: “People were taken aback by my inter-caste identity, or considered me impure because of it… That’s what brought me closer to the Left ideology. JNU gave me the courage to celebrate my identity.
“JNU is a model of democracy, hence, it is facing such an attack. In four years, we have seen seats cut, reservations scuttled and fee hiked. Our struggle to reverse these will continue. We will also fight to reinstate Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH).”
VICE-PRESIDENT Sarika Chaudhary, DSF
An MPhil student at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Chaudhary (24) has been in JNU since her graduation days, when she enrolled in BA German.
From Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, her father runs a PDS shop and her mother is a homemaker. While she had little inclination towards Left politics, she joined DSF when she applied to JNU in 2012. “The December 16 gangrape movement was on… JNU students played a huge role… Plus this campus made it possible for people like me to study by paying Rs 283 per semester, and the Left has had a huge role in making it what it is,” she said.
On her agenda is to reinstate GSCASH, roll back seat cuts and ensure deprivation points are implemented during admissions for MPhil/PhD students.